In an address to the United Nations Security Council, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused Russia of being a terrorist state.
Speaking via video link during an emergency session of the Council, following a missile strike on a shopping mall in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk on Monday, Zelensky listed a number of attacks that had targeted civilians or civilian infrastructure including at the mall, claiming that limbs had been ripped off bodies by the missile strike.
In a separate briefing, the UN Secretariat again warned that civilians continue to pay too high a price in this war.
At the behest of Ukraine’s President speaking via videolink — the Council marked a moment of silence for the victims of this four-month war as Zelenskyy labelled Russia a terrorist state.
“Who of you does not agree that this is a terrorist if any? In all the parts of the world, any organization acted just like Russia which is killing Ukrainians? If a country killed any peaceful people, that would definitely be recognized as terrorism. Such an organization would become an enemy for all of humankind. Therefore, what is punished at the level of concrete criminals and criminal organizations must not go unchecked at the level of the state which has become a terrorist, daily terrorist acts without weekends. Every day they are working as terrorists.”
He confirmed that 18 people had died in the mall attack in Kremenchuk, citing an additional 50 injured with dozens missing, going into graphic detail.
“Seven fragments of bodies have been found ripped off limbs, hands, and feet of the people. Any of the Russian states claims that all these victims suffered not from its missile strike, then I suggest the United Nations send either a special representative of the secretary-general of the United Nations or a plenipotentiary commission to decide if this (was a) terrorist act at Kremenchuk so that the UN could independently find out all the information and see that this indeed was a Russian missile strike.”
Russia accused Ukraine of propaganda and continued to claim it targeted a western-supplied arms depot that triggered a fire at a nearby mall.
“In order to return the attention of the world community back to Ukraine even though it was becoming fatigued, a new Bucha-styled provocation was necessary, but the problem was that the Russian army had not retreated from anywhere for a long time and planting corpses or shooting civilians only made sense on territories that had been brought back under Kiyv’s control. That is when apparently the idea came to stage a new type of provocation, an alleged strike on a shopping centre in Kremenchuk,” says Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy Russia’s Deputy Permanent Representative.
Russia refutes Ukraine’s claims about the mall attack:
Thousands of civilian casualties
The United Nations says it has recorded over 10 000 civilian casualties including more than 4700 killed and 5900 injured with the Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo saying they’d run out of words to describe the senselessness, futility, and cruelty of the war.
“The depravity of the war was again on full display yesterday following the missile strike in Kremenchuk, in the central Poltava region. Hundreds of people, perhaps even some trying to get a respite from the daily horrors of the war, suffered one of the most shocking attacks of the conflict when a shopping center was hit by what are reported to be Russian missiles.”
In a joint statement, western nations of the council underlined the need for an objective independent investigation expressing full support for the ongoing probe by the International Criminal Court.